One of the clients is a multinational packaging business supplying trays and lidding film to a range of application markets but primarily focused on protein markets. The other is a North American paper and plastics packaging company.
We were asked to identify the level of appeal for PET trays in the fresh meat market in North America – a market principally using styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) trays – so that our two clients could decide whether they might enter a partnership in launching PET trays on a large scale.
Our research was in 3 parts: 1) Store audits in 7 cities, mapping out the types of materials being used by different grocery retailers, 2) Consumer research using focus groups to understand consumers’ experience of using styrofoam and other forms of packaging for meat and 3) industry interviews with retailers and food manufacturers to understand their views on current and future packaging trends.
Our research showed there was very little PET in the market, that current packaging methods were failing the consumer, but that major retailers were reluctant to change their packaging methods, despite the advantages to consumers and the environment. We recommended entering the market via more advanced smaller retailers in more environmentally sensitive regions such as the US North East. Our two clients did not form a partnership but both decided to pursue expansion of PET tray sales in North America independently.